The influence of physicochemcial characteristics and interspecies interactions on the invasion success of a non-native crayfish
Sargent, Lindsey Wineman
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Species invasions have the potential to reduce native biodiversity and alter ecosystem processes. Examining the conditions that allow non-native species to be successful allows for better identification of ecosystems that are vulnerable to invasion and those species that are likely to be invaders. We examined two crayfish species in the lower Flint River basin, GA, USA, a native, Procambarus spiculifer, and a non-native, Orconectes palmeri. We correlated abundance of both species with physicochemical habitat variables, examined selective fish predation, and assessed temperature selection of both species in the laboratory. Results suggest that P. spiculifer is superior at avoiding fish predation, and O. palmeri may be less successful in locations with intact P. spiculifer populations. P. spiculifer abundance is reduced in the upstream portion of the lower Flint River compared to the downstream portion likely due to warmer water temperatures. It remains unclear whether temperatures have increased in recent years due to more human water use.